Red Sox trade Wade Miley to Seattle Mariners


The Boston Red Sox dealt from their surplus of starting pitching by trading Wade Miley to help further bolster their bullpen.

Once the Boston Red Sox acquired David Price to lead their rotation they were left with an abundance of starting pitching. While Price fills the void that was missing at the front of the rotation, Boston still has more than enough pitchers to fill in the middle and back of the rotation spots. Some of them were going to be left out, leading to rumors swirling about teams interested in acquiring a Red Sox pitcher.

One of those rumors actually panned out, with the Red Sox agreeing to send Wade Miley and reliever Jonathan Aro to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for right-handed reliever Carson Smith and left-handed pitcher Roenis Elias.

Miley went 11-11 with a 4.46 ERA, while leading the team with 193.2 innings in his first and only season in Boston. He seemed like the most likely option to be dealt due to his reliability and reasonable contract, which will pay him $6 million in 2016 and $8.75 million the following year, plus a $12 million team option for 2018. That’s a bargain, even for a back of the rotation innings-eater, which is what drew Seattle’s interest.

The Red Sox found Miley expendable because they should be able to get similar value in the No. 5 starter role from Joe Kelly or Henry Owens. Dealing Miley saves the team some money, since Smith and Elias aren’t even arbitration eligible yet, without significantly downgrading the rotation.

Prior to this deal being agreed to there were multiple rumors being floated around that pertained to other Red Sox starters. Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal tweeted earlier this afternoon that Seattle’s interest may have included Clay Buchholz, while the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo indicated that the Texas Rangers were showing interest in Kelly and the Kansas City Royals were taking a look at some of the Red Sox starters. With Miley on his way out of town it’s unlikely that the team will actively shop any of their other starters.

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They key to this deal for the Red Sox will be adding Smith to the bullpen. The 26-year old throws a hard sinking fastball that he pairs with an above-average slider. He posted a 2.31 ERA in his first full season and his 11.8 K/9 rate was 12th best in the majors among relievers. Last season he was the only pitcher with a minimum of 50 innings pitched that had a groundball rate of at least 60 percent and a strikeout rate of at least 32 percent.

Smith also temporarily took over the closer role in Seattle in the second half of last season, converting 13 of 18 opportunities. While he didn’t record a save in September or October, he did finish the season striking out 20 batters over his last 12.2 innings without allowing a run. His limited experience in the 9th inning doesn’t make him an ideal candidate to backup Craig Kimbrel in the closer seat, but Smith will join Koji Uehara and Junichi Tazawa in an important late innings role. With Uehara turning 41 next season and Tazawa struggling down the stretch due to overuse, the Red Sox needed to beef up their bullpen with another power arm.

At first glance Elias appears to be merely a thrown in, but he could be useful as additional rotation depth. The 27-year old owns a 3.97 ERA in 51 career games (49 starts). He could compete for the No. 5 spot in the rotation, but he doesn’t have the upside of some of the other options fighting for that role. The lefty is more likely to be used out of the bullpen.

Next: David Price's adjustments bode well

With the boatload of cash that they recently handed Price, the Red Sox need to shed some salary somewhere. With one move the Red Sox were able to save some money while dealing from an area of strength to improve a weakness.